GLN PHOTO GALLERIES
GAY PRIDE PARADE JUNE 29, 2008
California Great Bear Republic Resurrected in the Midwest
Anti-Gay Fascists Successfully Confronted at Chicago Gay Pride Parade
With a bunch of State of California flags and chants like "California Now, Illinois Next," the Great Bear Republic was resurrected in Chicago's Gay Pride Parade this past Sunday in front of a half million spectators.
Transported West Coaster holding up a California (driver's) license.
The Illinois marchers gamely tried their hand at the song, "California here we come," but only knew the lyrics to the first two lines of the song, so just kept repeating them over and over again.
A handful of powerful Chicago politicians have said they favor equal marriage rights for Lesbians and Gays, but the one politician with power to actually issue marriage licenses, the Democratic liberal Cook County Clerk David Orr, has so far refused to do so. One of the themes of the contingent was that it's not good enough for "gay-friendly" politicians to march in our parades and say they like us, they have to do something about it. When SF Mayor Gavin Newsome defied the national Democratic Party by issuing marriage licenses, he gave a huge boost to the drive towards legal equality.
Such has been the mindless hoopla about this year's presidential race, that many in the crowd were under the mistaken impression that hometown candidate Barack Obama favors marriage equality for Lesbians and Gays. So GLN made up big signs with anti-gay quotes from both Obama* and McCain. Unfortunately some in the some-what inebriated crowd looked at the pictures of Obama and interpreted the signs as endorsements, a misinterpretation only somewhat countered by chants of "Obama, Obama, let mama marry mama," and "McCain, McCain, he's just insane!"
The contingent, organized by the Gay Liberation Network (www.GayLiberation.net), was joined by the anarchist queer organization Bash Back (which had a "Jail Daley" theme, complete with a mobile jail), Chicago Area CodePINK, ANSWER, and Away With All Gods.
Bash Back dancing in the streets.
A stalled parade vehicle and a rain storm stopped the entire parade for about an hour as the tightly packed crowd flooded into the streets in futile attempts to find a dry place to wait out the storm. It was beginning to look like "The City that Works," which is bidding to host the 2016 Olympics, couldn't even handle a parade, much less an international sports extravaganza.
For several years now the end of the Pride Parade has been harassed by a fascist group called "Street Preachers," who aim to construct an anti-gay, anti-women theocratic dictatorship in the United States.
They dress up their wish that all Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender people be murdered with Biblical quotes like "the wages of sin are death."
GLN and others have counter demonstrated against fascist Street Preachers in past years, but decided that more effective action was needed this year. But just as we were getting ready to deploy our "remedy" to the Preachers, a Midwestern cloud burst again poured buckets of water on the parade and threatened to ruin the whole action.
Fortunately it was a warm rain everyone was soaked already anyway.
BEFORE . . .
A 400-square foot banner eclipses the fascist anti-gay bigots. Bash Back drummers kept up a thunderous pounding and ANSWER chanted endlessly to drown out the "Christian" rants of the Street Preachers behind the banner.
Ober-fuhrer Street Preacher leader Reuben Israel fulminates behind the huge banner.
Bash Backer Tim is elated!
As the rest of the 320-contingent parade went by huge cheers went up for the successful action against the bigots who had for so many years taunted the parade.
* Senator Obama, stating that he opposed equal marriage rights for Lesbians and Gays, infamously said "I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."